Yap and Inoue fight hard to the finish!
The WBC Bantamweight title eliminator between undefeated WBC #10 rated Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3 KOs) and WBC #3 rated Mark John Yap (29-12, 14 KOs) to decide who would be the next mandatory challenger has concluded.
Takuma Inoue, a 22 year old Japanese fighter, was looking to make a name for himself; no longer looking to be “the young brother of Naoya Inoue.”
Mark John Yap, a 29 year old Filipino boxer, currently holds the OPBF Bantamweight title and needs a win to finally get a world title opportunity.
The early rounds saw plenty of back and fourth action. Inoue came out using the jab with purpose. The young challenger was seen using his hand speed and aggression; effectively using his hand speed to keep the OPBF champ on his back foot.
John Yap, the more experienced fighter, used his boxing skills and movement to offset the challenger. He did well enough, landing a counter right hand and early body punches to mix up his attack. However, he was constantly fighting going backward.
Round five was very intriguing both men as each started to find their range. Although, John Yap was more effective with his punches. Unfortunately, he got over aggressive and was hit with a good counter-left hook that sent him to the canvas.
Evidently, Yap was unhappy with the knockdown call. He was complaining to the ref of a push down, but still managed to land solid punches to the body. Inoue punctuated the round with a beautiful combination followed by another over hand right.
The middle rounds were filled with back and fourth action with both men landing hard punches. The champion started to be more aggressive; landing body shots and a counter-right hand, even stunning the young fighter.
However, once again Inoue would weather the early storm and then respond with blistering punches. His jab and footwork afforded him success in landing his counter-hooks. He even managed to send the champion reeling to the ropes off a beautiful catch-and-shoot combination. Every time the champion had a spark, the young contender would respond.
The Championship Rounds
The championship rounds would be a war of nutrition. The OPBF Champion wasted no time pressing the issue again by landing good body shots. He pressed on by mixing up the attack with perfectly timed right-hands and combinations that had the challenger going backward.
Inoue once again would respond with combinations and left hooks, complemented by using his feet to switch from offense to defense for adjustments. He also pulled off a good body shot that stopped the champion’s forward progress.
There was a break from the action in the twelfth and final round, as the champion forgot his mouth piece. All the same, it was perhaps the best round of the fight. The champion, determined to win, threw hard punches to the body; managing to land a right hand that got the crowd screaming.
The young challenger was still fresh; using footwork and combination punching at a fast pace. He continued responding with hard right hands off the catch-and-shoot followed by left hooks.
As the round came to a close, the crowd showed their appreciation for these two combatants.
The results were a unanimous decision victory for Takuma Inoue, who took a picture with his brother Naoya Inoue and trainer in the middle of the ring.
Still waiting on the situation between Nordine Ouabaali and Petch Sor Chitpattana to be resolved, the WBC title remains vacant. However, Inoue is ready and waiting.
By: Garrisson “Bo” Bland